Monday, September 24, 2018

How to bring harmonies to life when teaching a song

To teach a harmony song to a group, you don’t want whole sections standing around waiting their turn.

choral singers (duetting)
photo by COD Newsroom

Not only should you break the song into chunks, but you should build the harmonies as you go along. Here’s how.

I’ve written about how to teach songs before: How to teach (and learn) songs by ear.

In that post I describe how you need to break the song down into manageable chunks. That means that you won’t have whole sections waiting around for ages until their turn comes.

The other big advantage of ‘chunking’ is that everyone gets to hear the harmonies as they build up.
A great technique to take this further is known as ‘duetting’.

Although I’ve been using this technique for ages, I first came across the term in a blog post by Liz Garnett: On duetting.

‘Duetting’ is when you get two harmony parts singing against each other. As the song builds up, you may try the alto part against the tenor for one chunk. Then try the bass against the sopranos and so on.

This helps to keep the singers engaged and allows them to practice their harmony against another one (and not get thrown!). However, as Liz points out:

“it is not the people who are singing who have the greatest opportunity to grow.”

It gives those who are not singing the chance to listen to other parts in combination and to learn from that.

At the end of the learning process, all singers in the group will have a much deeper understanding of how the harmonies are working in the song, and they will have had a chance to sing their part against all the others.

Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.

Chris Rowbury



Monthly Music Roundup: